Promoting Inclusive Green Growth: Opportunities and Challenges facing Africa

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In the context of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Africa @ Rio+20 organized a High Level panel discussion on “Promoting Inclusive Green Growth and building a Green Economy as a means to achieve sustainable development: Perspectives on Opportunities and Challenges faced by Africa, Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States” on 18 June. 

The session began with a discussion on green economy in the context of sustainable development in Africa, denoting issues, research insights and practical implications. Aly Abou-Sabaa, Director and Chairman of the Climate Change Coordination Committee at the African Development Bank (AfDB), introduced the aspects of green growth and the green economy. 

José Anibal, Secretary of Energy at the São Paulo state government, discussed his state’s use of new sources of energy. He proposed the creation of partnerships between São Paulo state and African countries in the sectors of energy and agriculture especially. Cheick Sidi Diarra, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS) welcomed the invitation for cooperation.  He said: “continued support for vulnerable countries is indispensable.

The right investments and transfer of knowledge and technology along mutually agreed terms is vital.” 

Participants agreed on the urgent need for research and development on green economies in African countries.  This would improve the understanding of the benefits, challenges and transformation risks on the path to not just a green economy, but also a resource-efficient one.

Oluniyi Robin-Coker, Sierra Leone’s minister of energy and water resources in Sierra Leone, introduced the idea of a green economy spectrum.  This would assess how how “green” a country’s economy is, and how it could be adapted within the country context.. He emphasized that financing, equity and access to knowledge were the three main aspects of a green growth path.

Resource availability and the need for local use of resources held the interest of the panelists.

“Africa’s wealth is in its ecological capital,” said Rejoice Mabudafhasi, South Africa’s deputy minister of water and environmental affairs.  She highlighted the need for investment in natural capital and new technologies especially, and the need for government support in these efforts.  

Participants agreed to engage in further consultations on the best means of collaboration implementation of a green economy path in African countries in the aftermath of Rio+20.

Note to editors:

The African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are partnering in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, “Rio+20”, in order to voice Africa’s agenda, based on the strong belief Africa cannot afford to miss this opportunity to push for the future it wants – with a development agenda that matches its aspirations. The Rio+20 is taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13-22 June 2012.

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